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Horace Walpole, Opera, and the Conception of Gothic
Anne Williams

Gothic Studies
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Discovering a Gothic Imagination
Anne Williams

Critics of the Gothic have typically stated that ancient, foreign, Catholic, Italy was generally an obvious choice as the site of early Gothic ‘otherness’. I argue that Walpole‘s choice of Italy was in fact overdetermined by his experiences there from 1739–41. In Italy, Walpole learned various strategies for disguising a self implicitly unacceptable in England. Italy was notorious for its homoerotic subcultures. Its Carnevale institutionalised the masquerade, and Italian opera performed the notion that gender is a performance. Upon his return to England, Walpole constructed Strawberry Hill, his most extravagant and elaborate masquerade. Years later, when the dream of his grand staircase impelled, The Castle of Otranto, another disguise was expressed. According to Otranto, Strawberry Hill was the unconscious embodiment of the English cultural prohibitions imposed upon him; the first Gothic novel is also the first closet.

Gothic Studies
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Anne Williams, Jeffrey Cass, Carol Margaret Davison, Diane Long Hoeveler, James Allard, Helen Roulston, John Vance, Martin Willis and Sue Zlosnik

Gothic Studies
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Frances Chiu, Diane Long Hoeveller, Charles Crow, Elizabeth Way, Nicole Reynolds, Benjamin Fisher, Anne Williams, Ana González-Rivas Fernández and Marie Mulvey-Roberts

Gothic Studies